A strong vision of success is essential to great leadership as a parent. Without a vision, you may have great ideas of how you want your child to be, however without the focus and the discipline on what matters you can get lost in myriad of things you do each day and lose sight of the bigger picture. Without a vision, daily tasks can feel hollow and operational, rather than practical and meaningful.
“If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.” Steve jobs
I recently took my parents through an exercise to create a vision for their family. Whilst myself and my older sibling are very much leaders in our own families, my younger sibling is mentally disabled and is heavily dependant upon my parents. Up until now my parents have been managing the day to day – getting by and dealing with whatever comes up next. However, this is the first time in 40 years they have stepped back and been able to articulate their vision for my brother.
In their words this has meant,
“Clarity on what needs to be done”
“Focus on what matters most, despite the day-to-day things that come up”
“A general direction, rather than meandering”
“Feeling like we have some control over the future”
It is so often easier and more appealing to carry on and just get through the day.
Walter Mischel is a researcher and author of the Marshmallow Test, a study carried out on the effects of delayed gratification. If a child was offered a marshmallow immediately or two marshmallows after a delay of 15 minutes, which one would they take. Would they be able to demonstrate self- control for something they want in the future. The study found connecting with your future you (knowing two marshmallows are coming instead of one) makes all the difference when it comes to staying disciplined and delaying gratification.
At a practical family level, a vision could mean withstanding public opinion of your child wearing clothes that don’t match because they are choosing expressing their creativity and your vision is to raise a creative child. In my parents case, it is moving through the daily ‘what matters’ list as well as the ‘what happens’ list, even when it is stressful, so they can realise their vision of an easier daily life in the short to mid-term future.
Of course a vision without focus and discipline, remains a great idea. In today’s busy world where we are constantly having to filter out the noise of an online, 24-7 world pulling us in multiple directions, it is imperative you are able to articulate and execute a vision to raise your family to be their best.
What is your family vision?